Fast Fiction

Pancakes — by Nin Andrews

after Joy Christiansons Erb’s photograph, “A Mother’s Love

It was the day of the tornado when I woke up late, still hung-over and dressed in my terrycloth bathrobe (the one I stole from a Marriott on our honeymoon), a pair of your brown socks, and remembered our argument from the night before,

how you said I was slothful and just laid around all day. You said I was unkempt, too, and complained that there were dust bunnies under the bed, the couch, the bureau. Who could sleep in a house like this? you asked. The last thing you said before you left was that I never cooked anymore and that you deserve a good home-cooked meal at least once a week.

Who do you think I am? I asked. Your maid? Your waitress? Your mama? What is it with men and their mothers anyhow?

But the next morning when I went into the kitchen, I pulled out the flour (picked a few cobwebs from the grains), the baking soda, the eggs, the butter, the milk, and the rusty skillet—the one you scrubbed with a Brillo pad last time I cooked, even after I told you not to. I turned on the stove and started mixing and heating and cooking pancakes, turning them, making each one was fat and light brown just the way you like them. I was so focused on nothing but pancakes,

I didn’t hear the news on the radio, didn’t notice the streets emptying outside, the strange greeny-blue filling the sky like oil paint, the birdless quiet as the world sucked in its breath. Or the whoosh of sudden wind that followed, the two pin oaks being ripped out of the ground and pieces of the neighbors’ rooftops scattering in the air like black wings (I saw all this later on the news)

because I was inside making pancakes. Whole altars of pancakes for Christ’s sake. For you, love, when you come back.

Nin Andrews
Nin Andrews is the author of twelve collections of poetry including The Book of Orgasms, Sleeping with Houdini, and her latest book, Why God Is a Woman.  The recipient of two Ohio Arts Council grants, her poems have appeared in many literary reviews and anthologies including Ploughshares, The Paris Review, The Best of the Prose Poem, and four volumes of Best American Poetry.